Innocence of the Muslims


March in Colombo on 24 September 2012 against the film. Photo courtesy Vikalpa

Muslims have never shied away from discussing the private and public life of their Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). In fact they have welcomed an examination of his life and times. However when the Muslim world is geared for a debate and public engagement, the West denigrates itself with cartoons and cheap flicks. The latest being Innocence of Muslims which has set the whole world on fire. This attempt to hurt at any cost reveals a certain desperation that can only be a compliment to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). However in allowing and permitting this worthless, useless and desperate attempt to ridicule and slander exposes the double standards and hypocrisy inherent within the western world and its intellectual realm with regard to one of its most touted and promoted intellectual products ‘free speech’.

The White House Press Secretary described Innocence of Muslims as ‘reprehensible and disgusting’. Yet the Obama Administration remains unmoved. An act of deliberate provocation is given cover and protection as ‘free speech’. What if it was not a movie about Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) but about someone else? Would it still be free speech and free for viewing? What if it was about Anne Frank? What if it was a movie that showed her diary as a big lie, that she was a fraud writing up made up, fictional figments coming out from the vivid imagination of a very bored teenage girl? I seriously doubt that in such a case that the US Government, Google or You Tube would adopt the same ‘liberal’, ‘free speech’ approach.

March in Colombo on 24 September 2012 against the film

Even in the way the West defines free speech, it is not an unfettered, untrammeled absolute right. It is pegged in and restricted. Under the standard narrative, in deciding whether to decree something as free speech or not, there is a need to balance competing considerations but when it comes to Muslims, what we see is not a balance but really a bias. There are examples a plenty.

In 2011, the Turkish film Valley of the Wolves: Palestine was banned in Germany for being ‘anti-Semitic’ and more so for being ‘anti-Israel’. There was nothing about religion. It was an action movie about a Turkish counter attack against the Israel attack on the Gaza flotilla. However these same laws fail to protect the sentiments of Muslims. On the Innocence of Muslims, Germany remains guilty of double standards.

Similarly a recent critique of Israeli atrocities in Palestine by Richard Falk was accompanied by a cartoon which showed a dog wearing a kipa. The cartoon was condemned for being ‘Anti – Semitic’. No champion of free speech came to defend it as being ‘free speech’. No newspapers re-published the cartoon in solidarity. In the end Richard Falk apologized.

In 2007 whilst the European press was aggressively defending the right to free speech in the context of another cartoon controversy relating to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) the Spanish satirical magazine El Jueves was banned by the Spanish High Court and the editor punished for a cartoon. The cartoon ridiculed not a Prophet and not even a Pope. It caricatured a Spanish Prince.

Why is it that the laws that protect Israel, Jews and the Spanish Royal Family from offense and insult not protect the Muslim? To borrow from Shakespeare ‘Hath not a Muslim hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer… If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?’

But are the Muslims overreacting? Are they too touchy? I think not. In another time, in Europe, in Germany Julius Streicher’s Der Stürmer published Nazi cartoons that ridiculed and stereotyped Jews. Before they started ‘doing anything’ to the Jews they started ‘saying anything’ to them. Before the killing started, it began with a bit of insult, offence and ridicule. The precise thing that Anne Frank and her diaries warn against.

Video of march in Colombo on 24 September 2012 against the film

  • Muslim

    The Islamic world has sent a strong message to the west. It cannot be business as usual. You cannot have the cake and eat the cake. If you want good relations with Muslim countries you will have to respect our religon, culture and sensitivities.
    This so called superiority of the Western culture, human rights and free speech is a myth. It is used to exploit and suppress the developing world, to strip them of their rights and loot their resources. Countries like the US have exploited the petroleum resources of the Middle East for decades.
    Now the time has come for the people of these countries to enjoy their wealth and resources for their own development and prosperity. The western proxies and dictators have been overthrown. Films and cartoons insulting the religon of 1.5 Billion muslims is the last gasp of a dying creed of colonial racist.

    • http://None Hiran Jayaratna

      Hatred has no end.

  • http://None Hiran Jayaratna

    Dear Mr Hejah Hizbullah – I call this politicizing religion for the benefit of ones well being. Now the TV station that translated this might be having very high prime time ratings, the leaders who spoke against this are called heros, there is destruction and killing around the globe. Are Muslims over reacting? Yes!

    I am sure this is not condoned in the Quran. Some johnny in the US made a 3rd grade movie with a home video camera and it has created havoc, destruction around the world. Just because some other religion (jews or whoever) protested or killed (or whatever) doesnt mean you should do the same.

    You may want to read the following post – https://www.facebook.com/ViciousPretender/posts/644910682889

  • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

    Oh give me a break. There’s a key difference between offended Muslims and offended other religious people. Muslims go ahead and kill those who offended their religious sentiments while others usually don’t. No other religion has something unbelievably barbaric like a Fatwa. Islam, well, in fact the people who believe Islam, still live in the dark ages, when it was quite all right to kill a person for the most trivial of reasons.

    I mean, what would you expect, when Muhammad directed Muslims to wage war on other religions and bring them under submission to Islam. Examples from the Koran:

    2:191 And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.

    2:193 And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.

    2:216 Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.

    2:244 Fight in the way of Allah, and know that Allah is Hearer, Knower.

    5:33 The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom.

    Not a week goes by that Islamic fundamentalists do not attempt to kill Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists explicitly in the name of Allah. Here’s some of Islam’s latest contributions to world peace during the last two three days:

    2012.09.24 (Hit, Iraq) – Four schoolchildren are disassembled by a Holy Warrior with a car full of explosives.
    2012.09.23 (Bauchi, Nigeria) – A woman and a child at a church service are murdered by a Shahid suicide car bomber.
    2012.09.23 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Terrorists bomb a mini-bus, killing three passengers.
    2012.09.21 (Rada, Yemen) – Shiites storm a Sunni mosque and murder a cleric.
    2012.09.21 (Nawa, Afghanistan) – Woman and children are among five people exterminated by Taliban bombers.
    2012.09.21 (Sinai, Israel) – Terrorists shoot fire at a group of IDFsoldiers providing water to migrants, killing one.

    What is the worse thing, making a movie insulting some historical event, or killing someone because he was the ambassador of the country of which the person who made the movie?

    The problem isn’t West’s double standards. The problem is that many Muslims just don’t know how to live in the modern world of free market, free speech, and internet. They just don’t know. They want to go back to the dark ages, to 1,400 years ago when Muhammad killed people in the name of his religion.

    Whatever anyone has to say about the West (there are indeed things to say about the West. They aren’t perfect), they are much more liberal and tolerant than those people who go about killing people believing they will be rewarded in their afterlives for their barbaric actions.

    • Gamarala

      Strongly worded, but well said Sharanga. The problem, in a nut-shell, is that the collective consciousness of Muslim society appears to revolves around a victim mentality, while simultaneously espousing what are essentially primitive tribal values. It is inevitable that these values come into conflict with the ideals of a free-world. This is a hard truth to swallow, and doubtless, a very insulting thing to hear. But rather than defending this barbarism, it’s high time for the Islamic Intelligentsia to come to grips with it – and overcome it.

      The author of this article is a case of this complex in point. Why doesn’t the author talk about the hundreds of movies that openly mock Jesus? How many modern-day Christians riot on account of this “crime”?

      Secondly, the author is appalled by “German hypocrisy”. Does the author really think that belittling the tragedy of the holocaust, something that Germany would doubtless like to atone for, is in the same league as lampooning a religious figure? Regardless, why doesn’t the author mention the existence of the American Nazi Party, or the KKK for example, which legally exists in America and is protected by its free speech laws, if the west is as hypocritical as he claims it to be?

      Rather than berating the west, who in this instance are entirely blameless, I would propose that you write an article castigating some fo the barbarians who were responsible for this violence, chaps who are obviously not even mature enough to tolerate a ham-acted parody without a good riot or two.

    • Muslim

      If you consider the scorecard of killing people the West does not emerge lily white as suggested by your missive. The sheer numbers of innocent men, women and children killed by these trigger happy cowboys is overwhelming. Add to these the number of Palestinians killed by the puppet state Israel in the Middle East you have a grand total in the millions. Is this the democracy you crow about.

      Japan-
      According to the US Department of Energy the immediate effects of the blast killed approximately 70,000 people in Hiroshima.[74] Estimates of total deaths by the end of 1945 from burns, radiation and related disease, the effects of which were aggravated by lack of medical resources, range from 90,000 to 166,000.[1][75] Some estimates state up to 200,000 had died by 1950, due to cancer and other long-term effects.[76] Another study states that from 1950 to 2000, 46% of leukemia deaths and 11% of solid cancer deaths among bomb survivors were due to radiation from the bombs, the statistical excess being estimated to 200 leukemia and 1700 solid cancers.[77] At least eleven known prisoners of war died from the bombing.[78]

      Vietnam-
      In 1995, the Vietnamese government claimed that its military forces, including the NLF, suffered 1.1 million dead and 600,000 wounded during the war. Civilian deaths were put at two million.[23] Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52,000[325] to 182,000.[16] The U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war.[32

      Iraq and Afghanistan-
      Base Statistics: September 11 Victims: 2,974; American Casualties in Afghanistan & Iraq: 5697; Afghan Civilian Casualties: 45,799; Iraqi Civilian Casualties: 989788? Total Iraqi & Afghan Civilian Casualties: 1035587; Average Daily Civilian Casualties, Iraq & Afghanistan: 374.18.

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        @Muslim

        Yours is a pathetic, fallacious attempt to justify the actions of people who go about killing people and blowing up buildings because they have illusions of heavenly rewards after death. It is fallacious because it is a “And you are lynching Negroes” style argument. It is pathetic because you are going about it all wrong.

        Even if the West go about killing people and blowing buildings because someone offended their religious sentiments by making stupid movies, that doesn’t justify the actions of the Muslim mob which killed the ambassador and few others because the ambassador and the others who died didn’t go about killing Muslims. In this case, they were for the most part innocent.

        But then obviously Westerners don’t go about killing people even if someone makes movies that mock Jesus, like by saying he fathered Mary Magdalene’s child. They just don’t do it anymore, even though they certainly could find verses from Old Testament that can be interpreted as requiring them to do just that. But they don’t. Christianity and Judaism, or rather, majority of the people who believe those religions, have become modern. They cherry pick some of the verses of the Bible and ignore the others. Of course you can mock them for doing that. But they are doing the best they can to avoid bloodshed without giving up their religions.

        If Westerner actually go about killing people for mocking their religions, even though it won’t justify the actions of the Muslim mob, it would put things into perspective. It would be a “And you are lynching Negroes” style argument. But it would be a proper “And you are lynching Negroes” style argument. But since Christians and Jews usually don’t do that kind of thing anymore, all you have is Hiroshima bombing and Vietnam war and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have nothing to do with religion. American don’t fight Holy Wars (no matter what Sarah Palin thinks about it). All their wars are about politics and commerce.

        My argument wasn’t that West have killed less people than the Muslims have. I have no way of knowing that, because these people have been killing each other for thousands of years. My argument is no matter what anyone has to say about West, they are much more liberal and tolerant than those Muslims who go about killing people thinking they’ll be rewarded in their afterlives.

        A semi-official Iranian religious foundation headed by Ayatollah Hassan Saneii has raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million after protests against this movie. This is what Islam’s contribution to the modern world – sentencing one individual to death for writing a book.

      • Muslim

        So its Ok for the west to kill millions of people. They have the freedom to kill andd malign. But we cant object to their foul speech and murderous actions ?
        If there is any fallaciious argument its yours.

      • Muslim

        We live in the age of You Tube and internet but man has regresssed not progressed. These tools are being used to malign and attack people, their religon and culture under such high fallutin as freedom of speech. Freedom to attack the sensitivities of others? Give a monkey a knife and then see what he does.

        The Internet, Google and Youtube are not the holy grail. They have their pros and cons. It is time the administrators learnt to control and filter the destructive and anti social content such as porn, hate, racism etc.

        Muslims take their religon and prophet very seriously. Whatever others may think the Prophet of Allah is more beloved to us more than our own lives. It is your own wish if you want to remain silent but as muslims we wish to protest and exercise our right of peaceful protest which is guaranteed by the UN charter. That is our pregorative and our choice. Some people have exceeded the limits but those are only a small minority as compared to the vast majority of muslims who engage in peaceful protest.

      • sabbe laban

        I entirly agree with what sharanga says, and I find that the “muslim” is trying to distract by going on generalizing sharanga’s specific arguments!

        Hijaz starts by saying:”Muslims have never shied away from discussing the private and public life of their Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). In fact they have welcomed an examination of his life and times”
        I wonder when and where they ever did this? As far as I know, anything said about this person Muhammad, which is not in keeping with the Mullah’s version is considered blasphemy and many such individuals have been put to death in the Muslim countries!

        Then Hijaz goes on about mocking at other religious leaders. When they made “The Last temptation..”, true there were some protests by some orthodox christians, and some Asian Christain countries banned the film; so were the protests against “Da Vinci Code”. Yet the fact remains that those Christians didn’t go to the extent of killing persons from the country where the movie was made.

        All these make me strongly suspect that there is something inherently wrong and intolerent with Islam!

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        I think you are having a serious case of an inability comprehend.

        “… as muslims we wish to protest and exercise our right of peaceful protest which is guaranteed by the UN charter. “

        Who said you don’t? I never said people shouldn’t be allowed to do peaceful protests. Even Nazis should be allowed to do that. It’s when those “so-called” peaceful protesters go ahead and start killing people and blowing up buildings that we start protesting.

        Not surprised that you’re not a rationalist

      • Muslim

        @ Sharanga

        Of course we have the right to protest. Thats what this article by Hejaz is all about. You seem to have a problem about this article. Its surprising how the worms come out of the wood work when Islam is mentioned or some one defends our right to reply?

        You cant have it both ways. Attack Islam and expect muslims to shut up. We have 1.4 Bn muslims in the world. Just because there are a few incidents doesnt mean that all muslims condone violence.

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        Of course we have the right to protest. Thats what this article by Hejaz is all about.

        You can say this with a straight face when Hejaz’s concluding paragraph included the following:

        But are the Muslims overreacting? Are they too touchy? I think not.

        He’s not arguing just for Muslim’s right to protest peacefully. He’s condoning what the Muslims are presently doing as a form of protest (which are violent), and tries to justify it by pointing to Julius Streicher’s Der Stürmer Nazi cartoons and the incidents related to it.

        Islam is the pretty much the greatest threat there is to modern civilization which values free speech, free market, women’s rights and all the rest related to personal liberty. What happened is Libya is hardly an isolated incident. Muslims have been consistently violent in reaction expressions against their religion, unlike any other modern religion. They keep on doing it again and again and will continue to do so. We can expect another Salman Rushdie to be sentenced to death in the near future. According to Hejaz, and presumably according to you as well, Muslims are not overreacting.

      • Muslim

        I do not condone violence and the killing of people. I have explained the reasons why people react. Especially abuse of the Holy Prophet or desecration of the Quran is a very sensitive area. Islam too advises patience against such attacks.

        However there are many shades of opinion amongst muslims including extremist factions. The situation in the middle east is very complex with so many factions weighing in. Such factions are not under the control of governments or moderates as even the great powers have learnt in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hence people who wish to abuse the prophet or desecrate the Quran do so at their own risk.

        I do not think it is an intellectual right to burn qurans or abuse the Prophet. There is nothing intellectual about maligning and insulting what others hold saacred. Such offensive behaviour is an afront to humanity not just muslims. People who indulge in such behaviour cannot be called intellectuals.

        Just as such people claim the right of free speech so do those who oppose. Such rights are the result of civilised and responsible behaviour. When limits are breached things can go out of control. So it is important to observe the limits of decency when discussing sensitive issues. Civilised debate and discussion is what uplifts society and should be encouraged. People learn from each other. Insulting and abusive discussion is best avoided as it is of no benefit to anyone.

        In my opinion and of many muslims including the leaders of countries it is time that some controls are put in place to prevent such abusive behaviour on the net. In the age of the internet such actions go global in seconds and can lead to chaos that even govts are hard pressed to control. So it is better that pressure is brought to bear on these companies like google to change their policies. Laws can always be changed for the good of humanity. To be free we must learn what our responsibilities are first.

    • Sookshuman

      Well said Sharanga. The funny part of this article is a Muslim writes it and he asks “But are the Muslims overreacting? Are they too touchy?” and answers “I think not” attempting to give a neutral perception to the write up.

      Some dumb 3rd grade movie director shoots a dumb movie and the whole Islamic world is in Chaos. 99% of the ones who protested haven’t even watched the movie but protesting because others are.

      Any right thinking person will oppose the idea that religion is apart from criticism.

  • http://----- A Concerned Citizen

    Where were all these protestors when mosques were demolished in Sri Lanka ?

  • Happy Heathen

    Hejaaz Hizbullah, if you want to believe in some imaginary characters from a bronze age Mesopotamian myth, I don’t have a problem with that as that is your prerogative. BUT ON YOUR OWN TIME AND SPACE.

    Anyone who has read history knows that Islam was built on bloodshed and violence and what is more, it is aptly evident from the despicable actions from the followers of Mahound through the ages to date.

    And for those misguided people who believe that all religions are the same, this is a classic example that some religions are inherently violent and perpetually blood thirsty than the others.

  • kasun

    “Innocence of Muslims” has not set the world on fire.Its the brutality of muslims

  • Sam

    Your comparisons make no sense. The Turkish show and the Danish cartoons were never taken off the air. Remember that no western network ever aired the ridiculous raciest Muhhamed movie. The same like any other stupid raciest film (and you can find many of those insulting all prophets and religions), in the west you are free to upload it.

    And If you will open egyptian or Lebanese newspapers you will find a lot of anti-Jewish cartoons. Not anti-Israeli but anti Jewish – longs noses,bloody teeths and the whole Nazi kind of poison.

    What I’m saying is that you are the only hypocrite here. The west treated this raciest movie the same way it treats every raceist movie – by ignoring its existence. People publish cartoons or TV shows that insult religious figures all the time (Just watch some SouthPark) yet the fury is only towards the west and only because of anti-muslim acts.

    Some examples (that got published on national papers,not youtube):
    http://canaryinthecoalmine.typepad.com/.a/6a013487f321e0970c015431df3b0f970c-800wi
    http://www.fighthatred.com/images/stories/arab%20cartoons%20about%20muhammad%20film%202.jpg
    http://www.fighthatred.com/images/stories/from%20the%20palestinian%20paper%20filastin%20april%205%202011.%20the%20jew%20cuts%20goldstones%20tongue%20out.jpg

  • Keynes!

    The West seems scared of the Muslims. They believe that the Muslims would take over Europe in the same way that they took over Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Afghanistan, India, the Maldives, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia … etc.

    Today, the Copts are a minority in their own land and their language is extinct. The persecution of the Copts in Egypt by the Muslims must be discussed.

    • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

      The West is scared of Muslims for the same reason everyone else are scared of them.

      The present world order is good. It’s far from perfect. But when you consider that for the past 200,000 years since the emergence of Homo sapiens, the natural state of humanity has been abject poverty, death, disease and fear. It is only in the past few centuries we’ve made some progress. In 1941, there were only few democratic countries. Now there are more than 100. None of these are perfect democracies(democracy itself isn’t perfect), but it is better than nothing. The global GDP rose less than 1 percent a year before 1950. Since 1950, it has risen by an average of 4 percent a year. People who haven’t studied history take it all (widespread freedom (compared to the past centuries), free market etc.) for granted. They think this is natural state of humanity. This is not the natural state of humanity. We are living in the best of times there has ever been. The natural state of humanity is abject poverty, death, disease and fear, and there is a very real possibility of the world going back to that state. It is exactly this that people fear (at least the people who understand it).

      Islam is a thing of that dark past. It is exactly what it was 1400 years ago. It is against free market, free thought, free speech, sex, women and pretty much everything else other than Allah.

      Would anyone hear would like it if America and Europe collapsed, and Iran became the sole superpower?

      P.S. Iran has now banned secure Google Search, and Gmail. They had banned Youtube in 2009.

  • Muslim

    Apparently this article has aroused the ire of our local rationalist and blind followers of the west. Whats wrong with muslims reacting to persistant attacks on their religon and prophet? Isnt that freedom of expression. Why the double standards?

    Of course some people with no principles or religon would prefer that they be given a free hand to ridicule and malign others. Unfortunately for them muslims are not mindless idiots who ape the west. Why dont the western countries get out of those countries? Then they can sit in their living rooms and criticise Islam to their hearts content.

    • Gamarala

      Dear Mr. Muslim,

      Can you point out who in this thread has suggested that Muslims do not have the right to protest? Since no one has said this, your reply seems to be aimed at some fictitious villain out to persecute Muslims! For my part, I would encourage individuals who so desire to protest to their hearts content. Where the line is drawn is in the cold-blooded murder of people, riots, mayhem and other such attempts to bully others into silence, when their views are not agreeable with your own.

      “Of course some people with no principles or religon would prefer that they be given a free hand to ridicule and malign others. ”

      On the contrary, the right to ridicule is rooted in and is part and parcel of a deeper principle – the freedom of speech – the origins and importance of which a modern human being must necessarily grasp. Fortunately, many in the western world have come to understand the sanctity of this principle after years of persecution (e.g. the dark ages, the Nazi era), and their dedication to it is based on anything but a lack of principle.

      • sabbe laban

        Muslim

        Can’t we ask in the Muslims in the West, to get out, and protest in their home countries? What are the Muslims doing in the “infidel” West anyway?

      • Muslim

        Well you said it yourself

        Rather than berating the west, who in this instance are entirely blameless, I would propose that you write an article castigating some fo the barbarians who were responsible for this violence, chaps who are obviously not even mature enough to tolerate a ham-acted parody without a good riot or two.

        Whats wrong in berating the west. Dont we have a right to point out the atrocities and double standards of the west? The west may be your idol but not ours.

      • Muslim

        SL
        Why should people leave their own countries? What is the west doing in Iraq, Afghanistan?

      • Gamarala

        Dear Mr. Muslim,

        “Whats wrong in berating the west. Dont we have a right to point out the atrocities and double standards of the west? The west may be your idol but not ours.

        I think berating the west can be quite healthy at times too. For example, I don’t see why the US should be in Iraq either. But that is not the issue at stake, and I’m sure you have at least a dim awareness of that? The Muslim protests are on account of a parody are they not? We are talking about worldwide riots and mayhem on account of a third rate film, are we not? We are talking about violence used as a tool to prevent ridicule, parody and criticism, all of which are important elements of free speech. Persistent violence and fatwas that have many people scared witless when it comes to voicing their opinions. So what is your position on that issue?

      • Keynes!

        Muslim,

        What are the Muslims doing in Iraq and Afghanistan?

      • kadphises

        Why is the west in Afghanistan?
        1. Because of 9/11. And because the ruling Teliban refused to deal with Al-Quaida who were their benefactors.
        2. Because men and women were being routinely beheaded for the most trivial reasons.
        3. Because girls were banned from going to school.
        4. Because women were banned from working and making a living.
        5. Becuase there were no personal liberties. People were even banned from listening to music or watching TV.

        In effect most human rights enjoyed by people all over the world were denied to the Afghans by their Teliban Government. But on the plus side, Afghanistan was stable, banditry was non-existant, drug use and production had stopped and corruption was under control. Although we take these for granted these were huge achievemtnts for Afghanistan.

        The West thought they will be welcomed by the Afghans. They thought they could reform Afghan society and introduce western liberties and freedoms. Also rebuild the country’s shattered infrastructure. But Afghanistan was not ready for that. With the occupation and its reliance on Afghan collaborators the old problems which the Teliban successfully eliminated crept back in. Warlords, tribalism, corruption, banditry, heroin production/consumption. In order not to lose face and to retain credibility at home, rather than withdrawing the troops the west escalated the conflict. The Teliban responded with equal ferocity. The result was a higher number of deaths and worse destruction than what the Teliban was was ever capable of inflicting on its own people with their arcane laws.

        The west now realises that they should never have occupied the country. They should have instead taken on Al-Qaida from the air and with special operations, They should have harried the Teliban govt and made things difficult for them until they eventually caved in and booted Al-Qaida out of their country. But its too late for all that now.

        If the US ever learned a lesson it would be to pursue their own security as ruthlessly as they wish, but that they can never impose civilisation on the world with their armed forces who themselves are brought up on a heady mix of violence, pseudo patriotism and disdain for other races. They cannot fix the world. Societies need to evolve from within.

      • Muslim

        Although these protests have been triggered by this film denigrating the prophet this feeling of resentment against the west has been there over a long period of time. The root causes of the current unrest and turmoil go much deeper than this film.

        The US has for decades pursued a policy of controlling the politics of the muslim nations in middle east through proxies and dictators. US has helped arm these dictators and kingdoms to suppress their people and exploit their resources. The people in these countries have remained backward, uneducated and poor while their leaders and families are living it up in western capitals.

        The other factor is Israel which is seen as western proxy in the middle east. Israel was created by the west to rectify the historical injustice meted out to the Jews in Germany. However in doing so the West has discriminated against the Palestinian people. Hundred of Thousands of Palestinians are driven out of their homes and deprived of their fundamental rights. Hundreds are killed by Israeli terror strikes. US has been the main backer of Israel heavily arming and indirectly supporting their unjust policies against the indigenous Palestinian people.

        The above two policies of the US are the main reasons for anti US actions in the middle east. The so called arab spring has managed to break down the first of these factors and is likely to continue and encompass other fifedoms in the middle east. Along with this there is the new found power and freedom of these fledgling govts which are struggling to bring things under control. The second issue of Israel is like a volcanoe that can erupt in the future.

        The role of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan is another point of friction especially impacting US relations with Iran and Pakistan both major Islamic countries. US has pursued a ambiguous policy with Pakistan but has not gained much credence. The US war in Afghanistan has impacted heavily on the ecconomy and people. People are being killed on a daily basis in both these countries. Iraq is another misadventure of the west. Hundreds of thousands of muslims have been killed on a false accusation of WMD. Western action has destabilised the entire region which is in turmoil.

        The current action by the west against Iran is seen by many muslims and yet another effort to deprive muslims of acquiring Nuclear technology which is their fundemental right.

        This is a long narrative and underlines the complex dynamics of the relationship between the west and islam. This is often described as the clash of the civilizations. This is a sort of love hate relationship with highs and lows. Current unrest has to be to be viewed in the context of this relationship with reaction coming at grass roots level from the streets of Lagos to Jakarta.

        This is a spontaneous reaction due to the denigration of the Prophet who is held in very high esteem and love by Muslims throughout the world. The meaning of terms such as freedom of expression, you tube policy and first amendment have little effect on the ordinary people on the streets. They only see that there beloved Prophet has been insulted and reviled by a person in US and US govt is not going to take any action. This incident is seen as yet another instance of US disregard for muslims and Islam.

        So the current deep rooted mistrust and anger against the west is there in the muslim world and will continue unless the west takes steps to resolve these issues. Whilst we condemn violence against US diplomats, we understand that it is difficult to control when it comes from the streets and people who are heavily armed and aroused.

        On our part we reserve the right to peaceful protest against such actions by extremist in the west. In my opinion it is better to confront and publicise such actions so that ordinary people get to know what is actually happening rather than sweeping things under the carpet. Unless we voice our opinion these type of actions are likely to continue and will ultimately lead to major incidents of violence against muslims.

      • sabbe laban

        @Muslim

        “Why should people leave their own countries? What is the west doing in Iraq, Afghanistan?”

        Exactly this is what you would like to ask the Palestinians, wouldn’t you?

        Well, the Western troops in Iraq and Afganistan may be planning to ask for “political asylum” or “refugee status” from the Iraqi and Afgan governments!

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        Whilst we condemn violence against US diplomats, we understand that it is difficult to control when it comes from the streets and people who are heavily armed and aroused.

        Wow! If anyone wants to justify shameless violence in future, keep this line in mind. Next time a Buddhist mob beat up Muslims and burn their business places (not unthinkable. I’m getting all sorts of unsolicited emails urging Sinhalese people to take action against Muslims), it’s just the anger of the masses. We condemn it. But we understand it is hard to control.

      • Gamarala

        Dear Mr. Muslim,

        You’ve provided a good overview of the persecution complex that many Muslim individuals seem to suffer from. While I can sympathise with these real (and imagined) grievances, the facts in this particular case are these.

        1. Pastor Terry Jones, a theological crackpot, releases his laughably bad movie: “innocence of muslims”, taking advantage of his first amendment rights as an American citizen.
        2. Muslims world wide run riot, some of the more extreme ones kill the ambassador, and most others protest in support. The author of this article, Hejaaz, thinks the protests are “justified”. Few or none deem it fit to protest against the despicable violence on account of a crackpot’s movie!

        Where in this narrative, do grievances against America come in? A private citizen releases a parody, and some Muslims kill the ambassador. How exactly is the American govt. responsible?

        Secondly, forget about America. What do you have to say about Theo Van Gogh’s murder? Or Rushdie’s fatwa? Who is intimidating who?

        Here’s the bottomline: Our right to free speech was won at the expense of the lives and sanity of many brave human beings in the past (e.g. Giordano Bruno, Galileo), who braved despotism and the wrath of crazed mobs, much like those protesting against this movie, to bring about the intellectual freedom we enjoy today. Central to this intellectual freedom is the right to free speech, and its attendent rhetorical devices, ridicule and parody, which allow us to lampoon the powers that be, so that nothing remains above criticism. Of course, some may stretch these rights to the limits of bad taste, but it is part and parcel of our right to free speech. Allowing these rights to be threatened, bullied and taken away by angry mobs and fatwas will damn us all to hell on earth (not the imaginary one’s in holy texts). Therefore, my suggestion, is that you revise your opinion on those who do not have the maturity to view cartoons without going on a murderous rampage or otherwise think it fit to silence criticism.

      • Muslim

        I do not condone violence and the killing of people. I have explained the reasons why people react. Especially abuse of the Holy Prophet or desecration of the Quran is a very sensitive area. Islam too advises patience against such attacks.

        However there are many shades of opinion amongst muslims including extremist factions. The situation in the middle east is very complex with so many factions weighing in. Such factions are not under the control of governments or moderates as even the great powers have learnt in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hence people who wish to abuse the prophet or desecrate the Quran do so at their own risk.

        I do not think it is an intellectual right to burn qurans or abuse the Prophet. There is nothing intellectual about maligning and insulting what others hold saacred. Such offensive behaviour is an afront to humanity not just muslims. People who indulge in such behaviour cannot be called intellectuals.

        Just as such people claim the right of free speech so do those who oppose. Such rights are the result of civilised and responsible behaviour. When limits are breached things can go out of control. So it is important to observe the limits of decency when discussing sensitive issues. Civilised debate and discussion is what uplifts society and should be encouraged. People learn from each other. Insulting and abusive discussion is best avoided as it is of no benefit to anyone.

        In my opinion and of many muslims including the leaders of countries it is time that some controls are put in place to prevent such abusive behaviour on the net. In the age of the internet such actions go global in seconds and can lead to chaos that even govts are hard pressed to control. So it is better that pressure is brought to bear on these companies like google to change their policies. Laws can always be changed for the good of humanity. To be free we must learn what our responsibilities are first.

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        Here’s my reply

        I do not condone violence and the killing of people. I have explained the reasons why people react to building a mosque in middle of a Sinhala-Buddhist area. Abuse of the Sinhala-Buddhist land is a very sensitive issue. Buddhism too advises patience against such attacks.

        However there are many shades of opinion amongst Buddhists, including those of extremist factions. The situation in the Sri Lanka is very complex with so many factions weighing in. Such factions are not under the control of governments or moderates as even the great powers have learnt in North and Northeast. Hence people who wish to abuse the Sinhala-Buddhist land by building mosques in places like Dambulla do so at their own risk.

  • Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    I received the following e-mail today and am pasting it below to further spread the message it seeks to convey. The message has a universal context that touches all areas of potential and kinetic human conflict.

    Dr.R.N

    FW: Appears to be a sensible email worth reading…

    Dear Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews etc,

    You’re living in the age of the Internet. Your religion will be mocked, and the mockery will find its way to you. Get over it.

    If you don’t, what’s happening this week will happen again and again? A couple of idiots with a video camera and an Internet connection will trigger riots across the globe. They’ll bait you into killing one another.

    Stop it. Stop following their script.

    Today, fury, violence, and bloodshed are consuming the Muslim world. Why? Because a bank fraud artist in California offered people $75 a day to come to his house and act out scenes that ostensibly had nothing to do with Islam. Then he replaced the audio, putting words in the actors’ mouths, and stitched together the scenes to make an absurdly bad movie ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed. He put out flyers to promote the movie. Nobody -literally nobody-came to watch it.

    He posted a 14-minute video excerpt of the movie on YouTube, but hardly anyone noticed. Then, a week ago, an anti-Muslim activist in Virginia reposted the video with an Arabic translation and sent the link to activists and journalists in Egypt. An Egyptian TV show aired part of the video. An Egyptian politician denounced it. Clerics sounded the alarm. Through Face book and Twitter, protesters were mobilized to descend on the U.S. embassy in Cairo. The uprising spread. The U.S. ambassador to Libya has been killed, and violence has engulfed other countries.

    When the protests broke out, the guy who made the movie claimed to be an Israeli Jew funded by other Jews. That turned out be a lie. Now he says he’s a Coptic Christian, even though Coptic Christian leaders in Egypt and the United States despise the movie and want nothing to do with him. Another guy who helped make the movie claims to be a Buddhist. The movie was made in the United States, yet Sudanese mobs have attacked British and German embassies. Some Egyptians targeted the Dutch embassy, mistakenly thinking the Netherlands was behind the movie. Everyone’s looking for a group to blame and attack.

    The men behind the movie said it would expose Islam as a violent religion. Now they’re pointing to the riots as proof. Muslims are “pre-programmed” to rage and kill, says the movie’s promoter. “Islam is a cancer,” says the director.
    According to the distributor, “The violence that it caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people are and it is evidence that everything in the film is factual.”

    Congratulations, rioters. You followed the script perfectly. You did the propagandists’ work for them.

    And the provocations won’t end here. Laws and censors won’t protect you from them. Liberal democracies allow freedom of expression. Our leaders and people condemn garbage like this video, but we don’t censor it. Even if we did, the diffusion of media technology makes suppression impossible. The director of this movie was forbidden, under his bank-fraud probation rules, from using computers or the Internet without approval. That didn’t stop him. Nor did it stop the Arabic-language distributor from reposting the video and disseminating it abroad.

    Online propaganda is speech. But it’s also part of the global rise of lethal empowerment. It’s easier than ever to kill people. In Muslim countries, mass murderers favour bombs. In the United States, they prefer guns. In Japan, they’ve tried sarin nerve gas. The Oklahoma City bomber used fertilizer. The Sept. 11 hijackers used box cutters and passenger planes. Then came the letters filled with anthrax.

    Derision is that much harder to control. The spread of digital technology and Internet bandwidth makes it possible to reach every corner of the globe almost instantly with homemade video defaming any faith tradition. It can become an incendiary weapon. But it has a weakness: It depends on you. You’re the detonator. If you don’t cooperate, the bomb doesn’t explode.

    This isn’t just a Muslim problem, though that’s been the pattern lately. On YouTube, you can find videos insulting every religion on the planet: Jews, Christians, Hindus, Catholics, Mormons, Buddhists, and more. Some clips are ironic. Others are simply disgusting. Many were posted to bait one group into fighting another. The baiters are indiscriminate. The promoter of the Mohammed movie founded a group that also protests at Mormon temples.

    The hatred and bloodshed will go on until you stop taking the bait. Mockery of your prophet on a computer with an Internet address somewhere in the world can no longer be your master. Nor can the puppet clerics who tell you to respond with violence. Lay down your stones and your anger. If there be a God he or she would be too great to be troubled by the insults of fools.

    Such emotional uprisings give further credence to the agnostics and atheist. Each and every religion, its sects and sub-sects cancel each other out as belief systems of a bye gone era that acted as scaffoldings both internal and external for the modern global civilization. Science, technology and evidence based practical beliefs that triumph over old technologies and belief systems. In terms of mankind’s presence on this planet it’s a mere twig on a peripheral branch in terms of time on the tree of life and is as much in danger of chopping off the branch or nature itself breaking it off by chance.

  • kadphises

    Isnt it funny how it takes just one American idiot to bring out a million moslem idiots onto the streets?

    The same goes for the Buddhist idiots. Given half a chance they would have burned a few mosques on account of what a few Afghan idiots did a few decades back when they destroyed their own heritage and history blowing up the Bamiyan Buddas.

    There will always be a few nutters in this world. They will provoke. and They will overeact. The best way to deal with them is to ignore their provocations and stop giving them the publicity they crave. If you dont like the youtube clip. Dont watch it. Thats my advice.

    • http://groundviews silva

      The ” Buddhist idiots ” you write about , did not even flinch when the Bamiyan Buddha statues were blown up by the Taliban . Ironically, it was the Americans who later completely flattened Afghanistan .

  • Amarnath Amarasingam

    “An act of deliberate provocation is given cover and protection as ‘free speech’. What if it was not a movie about Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) but about someone else? Would it still be free speech and free for viewing? What if it was about Anne Frank? What if it was a movie that showed her diary as a big lie, that she was a fraud writing up made up, fictional figments coming out from the vivid imagination of a very bored teenage girl? I seriously doubt that in such a case that the US Government, Google or You Tube would adopt the same ‘liberal’, ‘free speech’ approach.”

    Actually, yes, that’s exactly what has happened. There are indeed numerous films and books about Anne Frank’s diary being a fraud, and the reasoned response has been to factually take apart the allegations one by one. YouTube is also littered with films arguing that Obama is the Antichrist, Holocaust denial films, 9/11 Truther films, films arguing that Jesus had a wife or that he never existed, etc. It’s YouTube, remember?

    When films like The Da Vinci Code came out in the United States, sure there were protests and mass boycotts, and many Christians stated very loudly that the premise of the film was offensive. But, to my knowledge, not one theater in the U.S. refused to show the film – and this from a state where 30 percent of the population believes the Bible to be literally true.

    The argument put forth in this article only makes sense if [1] one does not understand how YouTube works or [2] believes that even though the video is on YouTube, it’s somehow still a product of the American government.

    YouTube sets no limit or boundary on who can upload videos or how many videos they can upload. According to YouTube itself, 72 hours of video are uploaded on to the site every MINUTE. I’m sure all of those hours are offensive to someone somewhere. Should we get POTUS on the phone right away?

    Burning an effigy of President Obama to protest a YouTube clip made by some guy in California makes about as much sense as some guy in Tucson burning an effigy of President Rajapaksa for “remaining unmoved” after President Obama’s effigy was burned (and posted on YouTube!).

  • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

    Peace Be Upon all Fundamentalists. :)

  • Keynes!

    Tamilnet.tv has ridiculed Prabhakaran and Navi Pillay. The Tamils never protested. Does this mean that the Tamils are tolerant?

    • kadphises

      Tamils are tolerant of most things. An exception is perhaps the Mahavamsa – A 5th century chronicle of Sri Lanka’s history which they deride and decry at every given opportunity. :-(

      • Keynes!

        kadphises,

        Some Tamils, such the historian Karthigesu Indrapala, are tolerant of the Mahavamsa and have gone to the extent of declaring that the Mahavamsa was fair.

        When GG Ponnambalam criticized the Mahavamsa in 1939, the Sinhalese went on a rampage. The Muslims who go on a rampage today may have learnt their tactics from the Sinhalese.

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        Or they learnt it from LTTE, considering that the attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi was not a spontaneous one as previously thought, but a deliberate and organized terrorist attack. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49218601/#.UGlFEpiR9Js

      • Keynes!

        Sharanga,

        The LTTE in turn must have learnt it from what the Sinhalese gave the Tamils in 1939, 1956 and 1958 or from what they did to the Muslims in 1915.

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        That’s probably true. The tigers weren’t original thinkers.

  • Pro Bono Publico

    When other religions or beliefs are questioned they dont run amok and kill,no one did such a thing when the Da Vinci code was published which was extremely offensive to Christians

    Muslims should learn to ignore such things and debate in a civilised way rather than kill people or turn to violence just because some sick individual has insulted them

    The places where the Muslims have most amount of personal and political freedom is in the Western cities like London or Zurich and not in Saudi Arabia or Tehran

    If they had ignored that cheap movie no one would have taken notice of it,but because of this violence even moderate people are going to look at them in a different way which is sad

  • Ethnichybrid

    I think the Muslims are over reacting. As so many commentators have said before, this was a two bit film that is simply not worth taking seriously. As far as I know it, Islam was a religion of its times. You can’t take something from fourteen hundred years ago to prove its violence. To me the ethos of Islam is actually peace,however, everyone including Muslims have completely forgotten that. When I saw the hundreds of Muslims (men may I emphasize. Where were the women?) I wondered where were they when the Muslims were thrown out of Jaffna, when the mosques were attacked and when basic fundamental rights of Muslim women are denied illegally supposedly in the name of religion?

  • Atiq

    A German Muslim Scholar’s answer in a live TV Show Seen by Millions of people. He was asked about Terrorism, and Islam.
    He said
    Who started the First World War?
    Muslims?
    Who started the second world war?
    Muslims?
    Who killed about 20 Millions of Aborigines in Australia?
    Muslims?
    Who sent the Nuclear Bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    Muslims?
    Who Killed more than 100 Millions red Indians in North America?
    Muslims?
    Who Killed more than 50 Millions Indians in South America?
    Muslims?
    Who took about 180 Millions of African People as Slaves, of Whom 88% Died and were thrown in the Atlantic Ocean?
    Muslims?
    NO,
    They were not Muslims.
    First
    You have to Define Terrorism Properly
    If a Non Muslim does some thing bad, its a Crime
    But if a Muslim Commits the same act, He is a Terrorist.
    First Remove this Double standard then come to the Point

    • Keynes!

      Atiq,

      Thanks for the information.

      Do you think Tamils have supported terrorism? Do you think the LTTE are terrorists?

    • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

      This is just plain ridiculous. The English language is richer than you think to use the word “terrorism” to everything that you don’t like.

      Terrorism is the systematic use of terror to achieve some political, religious or some other such goal. Every act of war doesn’t fall under it. That’s why we have a separate word for it – terrorism.

      First World War?
      Not terrorism. Just ordinary warfare.

      second world war?
      Not terrorism. Just ordinary warfare.

      20 Millions of Aborigines in Australia?
      Genocide. Not terrorism. Only an illiterate would use terrorism to describe that.

      Nuclear Bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
      Now this actually can be counted as an act of terrorism.

      100 Millions red Indians in North America?
      Genocide, brutal colonialism. Definitely not terrorism

      50 Millions Indians in South America?
      Genocide, colonialism, corrupt politics. Not terrorism.

      180 Millions of African People as Slaves, of Whom 88% Died and were thrown in the Atlantic Ocean?
      Slavery. Not terrorism. It really raises doubts about his so-called German Muslim Scholar’s intellectual capacity if he cannot distinguish between slavery and terrorism.

      Compare this bombing Dalada Maligawa. Dalada Maligawa is not a military base. It has nothing to do with country’s defensive capabilities. It is not an economically important place like the Central Bank, or the Airport. The only reason the LTTE did it was to terrorize the Sinhalese people and make them submit to them in fear. Terrorism is using terror as a weapon. That’s the definition of terrorism.

      You can email this to your German Muslim “Scholar”.

      • Keynes!

        Sharanga,

        1. Here’s a link to a video in which terrorism is well explained.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLDeDEFtzAU

        “Terrorism, whether in Sri Lanka,or in Washington, or in London, or somewhere else is terrorism”

        2. In 1989, the JVP attacked the Dalada Maligawa. Do you think the JVP’s attack on the Maligawa was an act of terrorism? Or is it something else?

        3. Thivya, a commentator on GV, has written about the slaughter at the Veeramunai village. It can be accessed at http://thivyaaa.blogspot.ca/2012/08/massacre-of-tamils-in-hindu-temple.html

        What is your opinion of what happened at Veeramunai? Is it an act of terrorism? Or is it vandalism with some body counts?

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        “Terrorism, whether in Sri Lanka,or in Washington, or in London, or somewhere else is terrorism”

        As a word of advice, when you argue with someone, argue against what he’s actually saying. Do I despute the above claim? Does my definition of terrorism contain anything related to geography? No, which means you just don’t know how to argue.

        The LTTE wasn’t a terrorist organization because it was in SL. It was a terrorist organization because they consistently used terror as a weapon. Their strategy of winning was forcing Sinhalese population into suppression through fear. They weren’t a terrorist organization because they attacked the central bank. That sort of thing might be fair in a war. They were a terrorist organization because they bombed Dalada Maligawa, because they bombed a shop in near dozens of tuition classes in Nugegoda, because they fired at a civilian bus in Kebithigollawa, and because they did this sort of thing consistently.

        A conventional army might do similar things from time to time. But they don’t do it consistently as a method of war. It is only terrorist organizations that use terror consistently as a weapon.

        The word terrorism does not cover everything from slavery to genocide to colonialism to conventional warfare to toaster ovens as this German Muslim “Scholar” thinks. It has a specific meaning, and that’s my argument.

        The Muslims who issue Fatwas on Salman Rushdie terrorists. Their message is a pretty clear threat. Do as they say or otherwise you will be killed. Make an anti-Muslim movie and you are guaranteed to get death threats. No other modern religion does this sort of barbaric thing with such consistency. Then they go ahead and bomb Buddha statues.

        The JVP was without doubt a terrorist organization. Keep your shop open on a day they told you to close it, you’re dead. It’s just that they were less successful than LTTE

      • Keynes!

        Sharanga,

        “As a word of advice, when you argue with someone, argue against what he’s actually saying. Do I despute the above claim? Does my definition of terrorism contain anything related to geography? No, which means you just don’t know how to argue.”

        Are you a Buddhist?

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        Assume that I am. I curious what the response is going to be.

  • Ginny

    There was nothing in that film tht was not the truth. So what is their problem????????????????
    Another notable film that also depicts them as they are is “The Dictator”. Very funny buth truthfull.